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Home Healthcare Aide Career Guide

Are you compassionate, empathetic and resourceful? Do you thrive off helping others and improving their quality of life?

If the answer is yes, then a career as a home healthcare aide may be right for you!

A home healthcare aide provides those who are chronically ill, disabled or impaired with the assistance that they greatly need. The general purpose of a home healthcare aide is to help patients with the tasks that the patient cannot do for his or herself. To become a home healthcare aide, you will need a high school diploma and to complete on-the-job training!

Caregiving is demanding work, a labor of love, and a lot of labor. For many, the demands of caregiving may be too much to bear. Balancing a full-time job or children, in addition to the time spent caring for a loved one is challenging. Sometimes it takes more than one caretaker can give. As a home health aide, you come to the rescue, becoming a hero to your clients and their families! You give the family peace of mind, providing tender, loving, and compassionate care when the family is unable to do so themselves.

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Home Healthcare Aide Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life Home Healthcare Aide Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the Home Healthcare Aide field.
ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33881 PCA, MA Female 27 $17,500 Laton, CA 01/01/2010
33817 Student Nurse, Home Health Aide, Patient Care Assistant & Phelbotomist Female 37 $25,000 Port Richey, FL 01/01/2010
33827 Home Care Provider Female 21 $15,000 Los Angeles, CA 01/01/2010
33815 Nurse Male 28 $70,000 haddonfield, NJ 01/01/2010
33565 Home Healthcare Provider Female 35 $24,000 Rio linda, CA 01/01/2010

Overview

What a home healthcare aide actually does

Home health care aides provide greatly needed assistance to people who are chronically ill, disabled, or otherwise impaired. Although their specific duties vary by state, their general purpose is to help their patient with the tasks the patient cannot do for his or herself. Typically, they will work with older adults, but they can also help younger members of society! Regardless of what age they work with, their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Working closely with a registered nurse to assist clients with the tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, cooking, light housework, and shopping
  • Administering medications
  • Checking a patients vital signs
  • Scheduling appointments for patients and providing transportation to the appointments where required
  • Maintaining records of services performed
  • Reporting any changes in a client’s health or condition to a supervisor

Why they are needed

Home healthcare aides make a huge difference to the lives of many. They truly improve the lives of their clients and their families. By building personal relationships they are enhancing an individual’s quality of life, and taking the strain off their family. Furthermore, we need home healthcare aides to prevent people from going into institutions, such as hospitals or care homes. This takes the strain of other healthcare services and keeps people comfortable and in a place they are familiar with.

Pros and cons of a career as a home healthcare aide:

Pros:

  • Every single day home healthcare aides make a huge difference to the lives of others
  • Home healthcare aides can have a flexible schedule, often they can work as little or as much as they wish
  • Home healthcare aides get to make personal relationships with many people, making it a satisfying and rewarding job
  • There are lots of opportunities in this growing field
  • There is a high demand for home healthcare aides
  • Not a lot of formal education is required, making it an accessible career

Cons:

  • It can be a physically demanding job as it often requires you to lift patients, to set up equipment and to stand up or kneel down for periods of time
  • It is an incredibly emotionally challenging career as home healthcare aides will work closely with patients who are distressed or worried
  • Home healthcare aides will spend a lot of time travelling from one patient to the next
  • Home healthcare aides may have to work long hours

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of home healthcare aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth in employment is expected as the baby-boomer generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home healthcare aides will rise.

Elderly clients and people with disabilities will continue to rely on home care as an alternative to nursing homes or hospitals, further increasing the demand for home healthcare aids.

Career paths

To become a home healthcare aide you normally will need a high school diploma or equivalent (some positions do not require this, however). Home healthcare aides receive training in housekeeping tasks, such as cooking for clients who have special dietary needs and aides may learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond in an emergency.

Specific training may be needed for certification if state certification is required. Training may be done on the job or through specialized programs. Training typically includes learning about personal hygiene, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, and basic nutrition.

Example Job Titles for Home Healthcare Aide

Below is a list of common job titles in the Home Healthcare Aide field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a home healthcare aide was $25,280 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,430 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34,180.

The top paying industry was residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities, where the average annual salary was $25,680. This is followed by continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly, where the median annual salary was $25,600. Next was individual and family services ($25,330) and then home healthcare services ($24,670).

Autonomy and Flexibility

As expected, the level of autonomy and flexibility for a home healthcare aide is neither high nor low. They get to make some decisions over their clients care, but the client will make the final decision. They will also have some flexibility over how they plan their day and which clients they travel to, but as a whole they will have a schedule to stick to.

Locations and commute

According to Zippia, the best states to be a home healthcare aide, based on salary and total number of jobs available, were:

  1. Alaska, where the average annual salary is $32,378
  2. Maine, where the average annual salary is $34,206
  3. Vermont, where the average annual salary is $30,327
  4. Rhode Island, where the average annual salary is $30,553
  5. Montana, where the average annual salary is $25,024

The worst states for home healthcare aides, according to Zippia, were Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia and Alabama.

Work environment

44% of home healthcare aides in the United States were employed by individual and family services. 25% were employed by home healthcare services, 7% by residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities and 7%  continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly.

Generally, healthcare aides work in clients homes. However, they may also work in small group homes or larger care communities. There is a lot of travelling involved in being a home healthcare aide. Healthcare aides may have to visit four or five clients in one day. Aides may work with other aides, or they may work by themselves! The work can be physically demanding as they may have to move clients into and out of bed or help them with walking. Although rare, healthcare aides may be at risk of violence from patients with mental health issues or cognitive impairments.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Home Healthcare Aide careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Home Healthcare Aide career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Home Healthcare Aide.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

Home healthcare aides are likely to be a Myers-Briggs INFP personality type. INFPs, otherwise known as the ‘Healer’, are empathetic, understanding, caring and compassionate. All of these are key qualities of home healthcare aides, who must work closely to aide those in need.

Accomplishment and mastery

As it is a career that is relatively easy to enter, the sense of accomplishment and mastery for home healthcare aides when they begin to help others is likely to be quite high. Similarly, throughout their career, home healthcare aides will help those in need each and every day – this means that the sense of accomplishment and mastery is likely to remain high.

Meaning and contribution

It is undoubtable that the work of a home healthcare aide is highly meaningful and makes a huge difference to the lives of many. Home healthcare aides single handedly help those who need it to avoid institutions and stay in the comfort of their own home. They take the pressure off family members and other healthcare services and play a truly meaningful  role on society.

Life fit

Most home healthcare aides will work full-time. They may also have to work evening and weekend hours, depending on their clients’ needs. Based on this, it can provide a tricky life fit at times.

Who will thrive in this career?

You will truly thrive as a home healthcare aide if you get great satisfaction out of helping others. Home healthcare aides are not rewarded with a particularly high salary. Therefore, their enjoyment and satisfaction must come out of the helping of others and the social interaction.

Thriving home healthcare aides are also likely to be natural communicators. The role is focused on making people feel at ease and creating trusting relationships, and therefore home healthcare aides must be naturals at this! Those who have the ability to solve problems will also thrive, as home healthcare aides will often have to help patients solve problems.

Who will struggle in this career?

Firstly, if you are not physically fit, you may struggle to keep up with the demands of job, which can involve lifting patients and/or standing up and kneeling down for periods of time. Those who are seeking a desk job that doesn’t involve travelling to and from clients may struggle as a home healthcare aide. Similarly, those who do not thrive off spending a whole day interacting with other people will struggle in this career.

Requirements

Skills and talents

Home healthcare aides will need skills and talents such as:

  • Physical stamina, as healthcare aides will need to be able to lift patients or help them to stand and walk
  • Interpersonal skills, as they will have to form trusting relationships with clients
  • Problem solving skills, as they will have to handle emergencies or work with difficult clients
  • Patience, as working with clients can be a slow and frustrating process
  • Compassion and empathy, as healthcare aides may have to work with clients who are in pain or distress and they must be able to relate and understand them
  • Communication skills, as home healthcare aides will need to communicate with patients and with other healthcare staff

Education

To become a home healthcare aide you normally will need a high school diploma or equivalent (some positions do not require this, however). You are then likely to receive training from your employer in housekeeping  and basic safety techniques. In some states, specific training may be needed for certification.

Certifications

Aides may be required to obtain CPR certification. Aides who work for agencies that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid must get a minimum level of training and pass a competency evaluation to be certified. Some states allow aides to take a competency exam in order to become certified without taking any training.

Additional requirements for certification vary by state. In some states, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which employers generally provide. Other states require formal training, which is available from community colleges, vocational schools, elderly care programs, and home healthcare agencies. In addition, states may conduct background checks on prospective aides. For specific state requirements, contact the state’s health board.

How to Become

Summary

A home healthcare aide provides people who are chronically ill, disabled or impaired with the assistance that they greatly need. The general purpose of a home healthcare aide is to help patients with the tasks that the patient cannot do for his or herself. Typically, they will work with older adults, but they can also help younger members of society!

Immediate action

The best thing to do to become a home healthcare aide is to get as much relevant work experience as possible. After this, start looking for jobs in your local area!

Education and learning

Home healthcare aides will need a high school diploma in order to land a job. Typically, they will then receive on the job training. In certain states, they may then also need other relevant training.

Skill development

Home healthcare aides will develop their skills through experience and on the job training.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Home Healthcare Aide careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33881 PCA, MA Female 27 $17,500 Laton, CA 01/01/2010
33817 Student Nurse, Home Health Aide, Patient Care Assistant & Phelbotomist Female 37 $25,000 Port Richey, FL 01/01/2010
33827 Home Care Provider Female 21 $15,000 Los Angeles, CA 01/01/2010
33815 Nurse Male 28 $70,000 haddonfield, NJ 01/01/2010
33565 Home Healthcare Provider Female 35 $24,000 Rio linda, CA 01/01/2010

Resources